Everything I learned about dealing with bullies, or getting out of fights, I learned from Bugs Bunny. I know many claim that Merrie Melodies or Looney Tunes cartoons are full of violence, and they are absolutely right. In the midst of all that violence, which character is the most beloved and the first you think of when it comes to these cartoons? Which character comes out on top (most of the time) using his wits and his intelligence as his weapon? Bugs Bunny.
I want to look at Bugs Bunny, and his interactions with some other main characters in the context of bullying. It is often said that the only way to get rid of a bully is to stand up to them. What happens in those situations where you cannot overpower or intimidate your bully? What happens when you try, and that bully just laughs? I am going to look at four types of bullying, the characters that embodied that bullying-style, and how Bugs taught ME to deal with them.
Aggressive Bullies = Elmer Fudd & Yosemite Sam
The obvious form of bullying is one where someone sees you as a weaker target that they can overpower. This can be based on size (I’m bigger than you), tools/ weapons (I have a bigger knife, gun, or bomb than you), or experience (everyone gang up on the noob). Elmer and Yosemite embody this type of bully because they have one way of dealing with Bugs, and that is head-on by shooting him.
How does Bugs handle someone who is attacking him head-on. With redirection and misdirection. He distracts them, and gets them off balance. He uses his cunning and quick-wits to defuse the situation and confuse the attacker.
Scheming Bullies = Wile E. Coyote
Another form of a bully is one who devises pranks and tricks to trap you in public situations or places that are highly embarrassing. They may get groups of people to help them, but they have planned the whole ordeal. A single prank is okay, but repeated pranks cause a person to be unable to live without stress and fear that something horrible can happen at any given moment. Wile E. embodies this type of bully because he not only set trap for the Road Runner (what he most known for), but also traps to try and eat Bugs as well.
How does Bugs handle this bully? He doesn’t. This type of bully has the sole purpose of “making” you feel bad, embarrassed, or afraid of what may come next. When watching Looney Tunes, you may think that the traps not working is the cause of frustration for Coyote, and you are partially right. In the context of dealing with bullies, Wile’s tricks are not having the desired effect. My step-dad used to tell me that if anyone can make you angry, then they are controlling you. If the pranks happen, and you are able to roll with the punches, or you don’t give the bully the reaction they want, their will stop (eventually) out of frustration.
The Jealous Bully = Daffy Duck
This bully is out to ruin you; all aspects of you. This bully may befriend you for a time; so they can get to know you, the people around you, and what’s important to you. This could also be a jealous sibling. This kind of person will seem like they are in your corner, and encourage you to take a risk, and when you fail, or are being ridiculed, they are lost in the crowd and not by your side. This is someone who may feel that you have taken a position, or title that they felt was theirs, or someone you beat out for a promotion. Daffy Duck embodies this type of bully because he wants what Bugs Bunny has; admiration, respect, and hordes of adoring fans.
What does Bugs do? He acts like a good friend to Daffy. Let’s say Daffy gets passed over for a promotion and Bugs gets it. This leaves Daffy feeling unappreciated, and he may focus his energies on showing that Bugs can’t handle the new position. However, if Bugs shows a sign of appreciation to Daffy (some kind of gift, or a new position, or a gesture of friendship), it takes away Daffy’s focus from Bugs. Another example that comes to mind is Obama beating Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, but he gives her a position in his cabinet.
Maybe one of these related to you, maybe all, or maybe none of them. I was not persistently bullied in my school years, and some of that was most likely due to the lessons gleaned from the good ol’ Looney Tunes. I could have very well been a target as the oddity in a racially “monochromatic” school district and city growing up. My older siblings had stories of being picked on, but I do not.
I will never disagree that the Looney Tunes cartoon are not full of violence, and I won’t sit my kids in front of them. If they stumble upon an episode I will probably sit with them and watch. If anything good has come from these cartoons (besides Space Jam and Looney Tunes: Back in Action), it is some strategies for dealing with bullies.
What other types of bullies have I missed, and what character, Looney or not, reminds you of them? Tell me in the comments below. Have a great week!